The Rise of the Macedon

Philip II’s occupations in the time of the Third Sacred War cemented his power, as well as the affect of Macedon, throughout the Hellenic people.

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Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe military skills Philip II learned while in Thebes, coupled through his expansionist vision of Macedonian greatness, brought him at an early stage successes when he ascfinished to the throne in 359 BCE.Philip earned enormous prestige, and also secured Macedon ’s position in the Hellenic civilization during his involvement in the Third Sacred War, which started in Greece in 356 BCE.War through Athens would arise intermittently for the duration of Philip’s projects, because of conflicts over land, and/or with allies.In 337 BCE, Philip developed and also led the League of Corinth, a federation of Greek states that aimed to invade the Persian Empire.In 336 BCE, Philip was assassinated throughout the earliest stperiods of the Organization of Corinth’s Persian venture.Many Macedonian establishments and demonstrations of power mirrored establimelted Achaemenid conventions.Key Termssarissas: A lengthy spear or pike about 13-20 feet in size, offered in primitive Greek and also Hellenistic warfare, that was initially presented byPhilip II of Macedon.

Macedon rose from a tiny kingdom on the perimeter of classical Greek affairs, to a leading player in the Hellenic civilization and past, within the expectations of 25 years between 359 and 336 BCE. Macedon’s climb is largely attributable to the policies throughout Philip II’s dominance.


In the after-effects of the Peloponnesian War, Sparta climbed as a hegemonic power in timeless Greece. Sparta’s dominance was challenged by many kind of Greek city-says who had actually traditionally been independent in the time of the Corinthian War of 395-387 BCE. Sparta prevailed in the dispute, however just because Persia intervened on their behalf, demonstrating the fragility via which Sparta held its power over the various other Greek city-claims. In the following decade, the Thebans revolted versus Sparta, properly liberating their city-state, and also later defeating the Spartans at the Battle of Leuctra (371 BCE). Theban basic Epaminondas then led an intrusion of the Peloponnesus in 370 BCE, attacked Messenia, and also liberated the helots, permanently crippling Sparta.

These series of events enabled the Thebans to rearea Spartan hegemonic power via their very own. For the following nine years, Epaminondas and Theban basic Pelopidas additionally extended Theban power and also influence by means of a series of campaigns throughout Greece, bringing practically eincredibly city-state in Greece right into the conflict. These years of war eventually left Greece war-weary and also depleted, and also during Epaminondas’s fourth intrusion of the Peloponnesus in 362 BCE, Epaminondas was killed at the Battle of Mantinea. Although Thebes arised victorious, their losses were hefty, and also the Thebans returned to a protective policy, permitting Athens to reclaim its place at the facility of the Greek political system for the first time since the Peloponnesian War. The Athenians’ second confederacy would be Macedon’s main rivals for regulate of the lands of the north Aegean.

Philip II’s Accession


Philip II of Macedon: Bust of Philip II.

While Philip was young, he was held hophase in Thebes, and obtained a military and diplomatic education from Epaminondas. By 364 BCE, Philip went back to Macedon, and also the abilities he learned while in Thebes, coupled via his expansionist vision of Macedonian greatness, lugged him beforehand successes as soon as he ascended to the throne in 359 BCE. When he assumed the throne, the eastern areas of Macedonia had been sacked and also attacked by the Paionians, and also the Thracians and also the Athenians had actually landed a contingent on the shore at Methoni. Philip pumelted the Paionians and also Thracians ago, promising them tributes, and also beat the 3,000 Athenian hoplites at Methoni. In the interim in between conflicts, Philip focused on strengthening his army and also his as a whole place domestically, presenting the phalanx infanattempt corps and arming them via long spears, called sarissas.

A Macedonian Phalanx: Depiction of a Macedonian phalanx armed via sarissas.

In 358 BCE, Philip marched against the Illyrians, developing his authority inland also as much as Lake Ohrid. Subsequently, he agreed to lease the gold mines of Mount Pangaion to the Athenians in exreadjust for the rerotate of the city of Pydna to Macedon. Eventually, after conquering Amphipolis in 357 BCE, he reneged on his agreement, which resulted in battle through Athens. During that problem, Philip dominated Potidaea, however ceded it to the Chalkidian League of Olynthus, through which he was allied. A year later on, he additionally overcame Crenides and also changed its name to Philippi, using the gold from the mines there to finance subsequent projects.

Third Sacred War

Philip earned immense prestige and also secured Macedon’s place in the Hellenic people in the time of his involvement in the Third Sacred War, which began in Greece in 356 BCE. Early in the battle, Philip defeated the Thessalians at the Battle of Crocus Field, permitting him to acquire Pherae and Magnesia, which was the place of an important harbor, Pagasae. He did not attempt to advancement further into main Greece, but, because the Athenians inhabited Thermopylae. Although tright here were no open hostilities in between the Athenians and Macedonians at the time, tensions had occurred as a result of Philip’s current land and reresource acquisitions. Instead, Philip concentrated on subjugating the Balkan hill-nation in the west and also north, and also attacking Greek seaside cities, many type of of which Philip kept friendly relations through, until he had actually overcame their neighboring areas. Nonetheless, war with Athens would arise intermittently for the duration of Philip’s campaigns, due to problems over land and/or through allies.

Persian Influences

For many type of Macedonian rulers, the Achaemenid Empire in Persia was a major sociopolitical affect, and Philip II was no exception. Many organizations and also demonstrations of his power mirrored established Achaemenid conventions. For example, Philip establimelted a Royal Secretary and Archive, as well as the college of Royal Pperiods, which would mount the king on his equine in a manner very similar to the method in which Persian majesties were mounted. He additionally aimed to make his power both political and also spiritual in nature, making use of a unique throne stylized after those of the Achaemenid court, to show his elevated rank. Achaemenid administrative practices were likewise made use of in Macedonia preeminence of conquered lands, such as Thrace in 342-334 BCE.

In 337 BCE, Philip produced and led the Organization of Corinth. Members of the league agreed not to communicate in problem with one another unmuch less their aim wregarding suppress revolution. Anvarious other declared aim of the league wregarding invade the Persian Realm. Ironically, in 336 BCE, Philip was assassinated during the earliest steras of the Persian undertaking, in the time of the marriage of his daughter Cleopatra to Alexander I of Epirus.

Alexander the Great

In a little over 30 years, Alexander the Great produced among the largest empires in the ancient human being, utilizing his military and also tactical genius.

Key Takeaways

Key PointsAlexander the Great spent most of his ruling years on an extraordinary armed forces campaign through Asia and also northeast Africa. By the age of 30, he developed a realm that stretched from Greece to Egypt, and right into contemporary Pakistan.Alexander inherited a solid kingdom and also knowledgeable army, both of which added to his successes.Alexander’s heritage consists of the cultural diffusion his created conquests, and the increase of Hellenistic society as an outcome of his armed forces projects.Alexander’s outstanding record was mostly due to his smart use of terrain, phalanx and also mounties strategies, bold and adaptive strategy, and also the fierce loyalty of his troops.Key Termsphalanx: A rectangular mass armed forces formation, normally written entirely of hefty infanattempt equipped through spears, pikes, sarissas, or equivalent weapons.Alexander the Great: Formally Alexander III of Macedon, a Macedonian king who was undefeated in fight and also is thought about one of history’s most successful leaders.Philip II: A king of the Greek kingdom of Macedon from 359 BCE until his assassicountry in 336 BCE. He was the father of Alexander the Great.

Following the decrease of the Greek city-states, the Greek kingdom of Macedon rose to power under Philip II. Alexander III, frequently recognized as Alexander the Great, was born to Philip II in Pella in 356 BCE, and flourished his father to the throne at the age of 20. He spent many of his ruling years on an unmatched army project via Asia and also northeastern Africa, and by the age of 30, had created one of the largest realms of the primitive world, which extended from Greece to Egypt and into present-day Pakistan. He was unbeat in battle and also is considered among history’s the majority of effective leaders.


Alexander the Great: Bust of a young Alexander the Great from the Hellenistic era, now at the British Museum.

Throughout his youth, Alexander was tutored by the theorist Aristotle, till the age of 16. When he thrived his father to the throne in 336 BCE, after Philip was assassinated, Alexander inherited a strong kingdom and also an knowledgeable army. He had been awarded the generalship of Greece, and offered this authority to launch his father’s military expansion plans. In 334 BCE, he invaded the Achaemenid Realm, ruled Asia Minor, and began a series of campaigns that lasted ten years. Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela. He toppled the Persian King Darius III, and conquered the whole of the Persian Empire. At that point, his empire extended from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River.

Seeking to reach the “ends of the world and also the Great Outer Sea,” he invaded India in 326 BCE, yet was inevitably forced to rotate earlier at the demand of his troops. Alexander passed away in Babylon in 323 BCE, the city he planned to create as his capital, without executing a collection of planned projects that would certainly have actually started with an invasion of Arabia. In the years adhering to his death, a collection of civil battles tore his empire apart, bring about numerous states ruled by the Diadochi, Alexander’s enduring generals and also heirs. Alexander’s heritage consists of the cultural diffusion his stimulated occupations. He established some 20 cities that bore his name, the most remarkable being Alexandria in Egypt. Alexander’s settlement of Greek homesteaders, and also the spread of Greek society in the east, caused a new Hellenistic world, elements of which were still obvious in the heritages of the Oriental Empire in the mid-15th century. Alexander became legendary as a timeless hero in the mold of Achilles, and he features prominently in the background and myth of Greek and also non-Greek societies. He ended up being the measure against which armed forces leaders compared themselves, and military academies throughout the human being still teach his methods.

Military Generalship

Alexander earned the honorific epithet “the Great” because of his unmatched success as a army commander. He never before shed a fight, despite generally being outnumbered. His outstanding document was largely because of his smart usage of terrain, phalanx and mounties techniques, bold strategy, and also the fierce loyalty of his troops. The Macedonian phalanx, armed via the sarissa, a spear approximately 20 feet lengthy, had actually been arisen and also perfected by Alexander’s father, Philip II. Alexander supplied its rate and also maneuverability to excellent effect versus larger, yet even more dispaprice, Persian pressures. Alexander likewise recognized the potential for disunity among his diverse army, because of the miscellaneous languperiods, cultures, and also wanted weapons individual soldiers wielded. He overcame the opportunity of unremainder among his troops by being personally connected in battles, as was widespread among Macedonian emperors.

In his first battle in Asia, at Granicus, Alexander provided just a tiny component of his forces— maybe 13,000 infantry, with 5,000 cavalry—versus a much larger Persian force of 40,000. Alexander placed the phalanx at the facility, and mounties and also archers on the wings, so that his line matched the length of the Persian cavalry line. By comparison, the Persian infantry was stationed behind its mounties. Alexander’s armed forces positioning ensured that his troops would certainly not be outflanked; further, his phalanx, equipped with long pikes, had actually a substantial benefit over the Persians’ scimitars and javelins. Macedonian losses were negligible compared to those of the Persians.

At Issus in 333 BCE, his initially confrontation through Darius, he provided the exact same deployment, and also aget the main phalanx pushed through. Alexander personally led the charge in the center and also routed the opposing army. At the decisive encounter via Alexander at Gaugamela, Darius equipped his chariots through scythes on the wheels to break up the phalanx and equipped his cavalry through pikes. Alexander consequently arranged a double phalanx, through the facility advancing at an angle, which parted once the chariots bore down and reformed once they had passed. The development proved effective and damaged Darius’s facility, and also Darius was forced to retreat once aget.

When challenged via enemies who supplied unfamiliar fighting techniques, such as in Central Asia and also India, Alexander adjusted his forces to his opponents’ style. For example, in Bactria and Sogdiana, Alexander properly used his javelin throwers and archers to proccasion outflanking activities, while massing his mounties at the center. In India, faced by Porus’s elephant corps, the Macedonians opened their ranks to envelop the elephants, and offered their sarissas to strike upwards and also dislodge the elephants’ handlers.

Alexander’s Empire

Alexander the Great’s legacy was the circulation of Greek society throughout Asia.

Key Takeaways

Key PointsAlexander’s campaigns greatly enhanced contacts and trade in between the East and also West, and also large areas to the eastern were substantially exposed to Greek human being and also influence. Successor states stayed leading for the following 300 years in the time of the Hellenistic period.Over the course of his occupations, Alexander founded some 20 cities that bore his name, and these cities ended up being centers of society and also diversity. The the majority of famous of these cities is Egypt’s Mediterranean port of Alexandria.Hellenization refers to the spreview of Greek language, culture, and population into the former Persian empire after Alexander’s conquest.Alexander’s death was sudden and his empire broke down into a 40-year duration of battle and chaos in 321 BCE. The Hellenistic people eventually settled right into four stable power blocks: the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, the Seleucid Empire in the east, the Kingdom of Pergamon in Asia Minor, and Macedon.Key TermsHellenization: The spread of Greek language, culture, and population right into the former Persia realm after Alexander’s conquests.

Alexander’s heritage extfinished past his army occupations. His projects greatly enhanced contacts and profession in between the East and West, and huge locations to the east were exposed to Greek world and influence. Some of the cities he started became significant social centers, and also many survived right into the 2first century. His chroniclers videotaped practical information around the locations with which he marched, while the Greeks themselves attained a sense of belonging to a civilization beyond the Mediterranean.

Hellenistic Kingdoms

Alexander’s the majority of immediate tradition was the arrival of Macedonian dominance to expensive swathes of Asia. Many type of of the areas he dominated stayed in Macedonian hands or under Greek influence for the following 200 to 300 years. The follower says that arised were, at leastern initially, dominant pressures, and also this 300 year period is often described as the Hellenistic period.


Alexander’s name in hieroglyphics: Name of Alexander the Great in Egyptian hieroglyphs (created from ideal to left), c. 330 BCE, Egypt; Louvre Museum.

The eastern borders of Alexander’s empire began to collapse in the time of his life time. However, the power vacuum he left in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent straight provided climb to among the most effective Indian empires in background. Taking advantage of this, Chandragupta Maurya (referred to in Greek sources as Sandrokottos), of fairly humble beginning, took control of the Punjab, and through that power base proceeded to conquer the Nanda Empire.


The term “Hellenization” was coined to denote the spreview of Greek language, society, and populace right into the former Persia realm after Alexander’s conquest. Alexander deliberately pursued Hellenization policies in the neighborhoods he dominated. While his intentions might have simply been to disseminate Greek culture, it is even more likely that his plans were pragmatic in nature and also intfinished to aid in the dominance of his huge empire via cultural homogenization. Alexander’s Hellenization plans have the right to additionally be perceived as a result of his probable megalomania. Later his followers clearly rejected these plans. Nonetheless, Hellenization emerged throughout the region, accompanied by a distinct and also oppowebsite “Orientalization” of the follower claims.

The core of Hellenistic culture was fundamentally Athenian. The close association of guys from throughout Greece in Alexander’s army straight brought about the introduction of the mainly Attic-based koine (or “common”) Greek language. Koine spread throughout the Hellenistic people, becoming the lingua franca of Hellenistic lands, and ultimately the ancestor of contemporary Greek. In addition, tvery own planning, education and learning, neighborhood government, and also art during the Hellenistic durations were all based on classic Greek ideals, evolving right into distinct new develops generally grouped as Hellenistic.

The Establishing of Cities

Over the course of his conquests, Alexander established some 20 cities that bore his name, the majority of of them east of the Tigris River. The first, and best, was Alexandria in Egypt, which would come to be one of the leading Mediterranean cities. The cities’ areas reflected profession, and defensive positions. At first, the cities must have been inhospitable, and also little even more than protective garrisons. Following Alexander’s fatality, many Greeks that had actually settled there tried to return to Greece. However before, a century or so after Alexander’s fatality, many type of of these cities were thriving via elaborate public buildings and considerable populations that contained both Greek and also regional peoples.

Alexander’s cities were most most likely intended to be administrative headquarters for his empire, mainly settled by Greeks, many kind of of whom would certainly have actually served in Alexander’s military projects. The objective of these bureaucratic centers wregarding regulate the newly overcame subject populations. Alexander attempted to develop a merged judgment course in conquered regions prefer Persia, frequently using marriage ties to intermingle the conquered with conquerors. He additionally embraced elements of the Persian court society, adopting his very own variation of their imperial robes, and imitating some court ceremonies. Many Macedonians resented these policies, believing hybridization of Greek and also foreign societies to be irreverent.

Alexander’s attempts at marriage also extended to his army. He placed Persian soldiers, some of who had actually been trained in the Macedonian style, within Macedonian ranks, addressing chronic manpower difficulties.

Division of the Empire

Alexander’s fatality was so sudden that when reports of his fatality got to Greece, they were not instantly thought. Alexander had actually no noticeable or legitimate heir bereason his kid, Alexander IV, was born after Alexander’s fatality. According to Diodorus, an ancient Greek chronicler, Alexander’s companions asked him on his deathbed to whom he bequeathed his kingdom. His laconic reply was, tôi kratistôi (“to the strongest”). Another, even more plausible, story claims that Alexander passed his signet ring to Perdiccas, a bodyguard and also leader of the companion cavalry, thereby nominating him as his official follower.

Perdiccas initially did not case power, rather saying that Alexander’s unborn baby would certainly be king, if male. He likewise available himself, Craterus, Leonnatus, and also Antipater, as guardians of Alexander’s unborn boy. However before, the infanattempt rejected this setup because they had been excluded from the discussion. Instead, they sustained Alexander’s half-brvarious other, Philip Arrhidaeus, as Alexander’s successor. Eventually the two sides reconciled, and after the birth of Alexander IV, Perdiccas and Philip III were appointed joint monarchs, albeit in name just.

Dissension and rivalry quickly afflicted the Macedonians. After the assassination of Perdiccas in 321 BCE, Macedonian unity broke down, and 40 years of war between “The Successors” (Diadochi) ensued, prior to the Hellenistic people settled into four steady power blocks: the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, the Seleucid Realm in the east, the Kingdom of Pergamon in Asia Minor, and also Macedon. In the process, both Alexander IV and also Philip III were murdered.

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The Legacy of Alexander the Great

Four steady power blocks emerged following the fatality of Alexander the Great: the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, the Seleucid Empire, the Attalid Dynasty of the Kingdom of Pergamon, and also Macedon.